Apple’s Pro Display XDR Compared to $40K Sony Reference Monitor, Found No Good for Professional Use

Apple’s Pro Display XDR has been widely praised for its color accuracy and for delivering performance that could rival professional monitors at one-fifth of their price. Apple even says that it designed the Pro Display XDR for professionals. The $4,999 display was recently put through its paces by Vincent Teoh who compared it to a Sony BVM-HX310 reference monitor with a price tag of $40,000+.

In his in-depth comparison, Teoh first tests the various aspects of the Pro Display XDR. He notices issues with contrast and color accuracy at high brightness levels and also calls out the screen uniformity issue around the edges, the latter of which has been highlighted in other reviews as well. Due to these issues, Teoh says the Pro Display XDR is ideal for use as a content consumption monitor in reference mode rather than a content creation one.

The host of HDTVTest then proceeds to compare the Pro Display XDR to the reference Sony monitor. Apple even mentioned this Sony monitor when it announced the Pro Display XDR at WWDC 2019. Side-by-side, the difference in quality between the Pro Display XDR and the Sony HX310 is pretty stark especially while watching darker scenes. It performed better on brighter scenes with better skin tones. In HDR mode, the Pro Display XDR again struggled in dark scenes and its contrast levels dropped down to IPS level monitors. It did perform better in brighter scenes but overall, the performance of the Pro Display XDR is not good enough for any professional to ditch their expensive reference monitor.

Teoh even goes out to say that Apple’s marketing team may have been a bit “overzealous” in calling the Pro Display XDR the ‘World’s best pro display.’ The monitor has a number of shortcomings especially in dark scenes like grayer blacks and blooming artifacts. The reviewer, in the end, says that the Pro Display XDR is just another IPS display with 576 local dimming zones which carries the Apple logo and a hefty $4,999 price tag.

He does note that it is not exactly fair to compare the Pro Display XDR to reference monitors which cost tens of thousands of dollars. However, it was Apple itself which compared the monitor to reference monitor during its launch. The Pro Display XDR is ideal for YouTube content creators, but for professional colorists, the monitor is a no-go.

Do make sure to check out the entire review of Teoh if you plan on buying the Pro Display XDR for any kind of professional work.